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"You have a candidate in mind, Vincent?" Father's voice wavered a little; he was out of the public eye and felt safe, surrounded by the things that mattered to him, surrounded by those who knew - those who shared his unique vision of the destiny of mankind.

"We have a number of logical prospects, but one does stand out amongst all of the others." While Father was the figurehead of this new society, behind him lurked a number of shadows, one could almost say they were Libria and they were the true face behind the mask of so-called freedom. Vincent was slightly shorter than his superior; he wore the trademark black clothing of the newly founded order - Flint eyes were set in a hollow face, a face that was haunted somehow.

"How long has it been, my friend?"


"Since all of this, the great decline of our morality and the rebirth of this new founded order...how long has it been, since we took charge of our own destiny?" Father turned to gaze out of the large window, surrounded by the trappings of his own material needs. "After the third world war, we needed this Vincent, power is in the hands of those who know what to do with it."

"Quite." The younger man stepped to the side, looking out of the window onto the conformity before them. "A testament to the vision that we had, you approve?"

"It is close, but there is still the capacity that remains...the one thing that we determined to be a danger to our new society." Father's eyes fell upon the man before him as he turned a half step, tapping the sill of the window with his finger. "Emotions."

"You have them, I have them, but what good are /we/ without them? How can we hope to lead, to guide and to make choices if we cannot feel?" Vincent was concerned and Father laid a hand on his shoulder.

"Prozium." He spoke the word as if it were some kind of miracle, some kind of wondrous all-powerful solution to the problem, of feeling.

"But that has never been tested on anyone outside of the program before, I shudder every time I think of one of those poor souls." Vincent shut his eyes and a weight settled upon him, for a moment, before the cold tones of Father dragged him out.

"Sacrifices must be made for the greater good, Vincent...you know as well as I, that there are always side effects and problems with a new drug." Now there was a certain fanaticism about his voice, as he continued. "But think on this, if it works, it would be the perfect answer - imagine a society where they are equal and all emotion is rendered into a single harmony. No war, no violence and no bloodshed. Paradise, Eden...a Utopia."

"But what of the council?" Vincent stammered.

"Ah, I have already thought ahead, we shall be exempt from Prozium, but we shall also create a mask of illusion to cover this fact." Father chuckled a little, amused at his own ingenuity. "We shall guide them, they will follow and we will educate the masses properly."

"What if some resist?"

"Yes, for that we have the Sweepers and our protege's, the Clerics...how is the program coming?"

"The Clerics?" Vincent nodded and flipped a screen around, to demonstrate via visual means the efficiency of the newly formed order, almost monastic and very deadly the Clerics of the Tetragrammaton were the last and final defence of Father's order. Or so he envisioned.

"Gun Kata...a brilliant device, the perfect weapon for the perfect - warrior."

"Yes Father, we have determined that Gun Kata and all of our martial training has been effective, within the next week we shall see the first of the newly trained Clerics, but one thing worries me slightly."

"And that would be?"

"Women." Vincent answered. "It is felt that in the halls of such a warrior's order, women could prove a distraction. Until Prozium is developed, fully tested and administered."

"A bridge that will be crossed when we come to it, you trouble yourself with fine details, while missing the larger picture. If having female Clerics causes an imbalance, we shall simply rectify it later." The older man smiled and sat down behind his desk. "We stand on the threshold of a great and perfect society, I will not let anything stand in the way of it...and if it means burning all of those things, that allow our people to feel, so be it."

Vincent blinked a little and shook his head. "But that is...counter to the way we were brought up, Father...to take such drastic steps, we would have to arrest and..."

Father cut him off sharply. "Vincent...my friend." His tone was dangerous once more. "You forget that we are the law, if they do not comply they are a danger to the greatness that we shall create. And like a cancer, what do you do with it?"

"You treat it with drugs..."

"And if the drug fails?"

"You cut it out." There was a lonely tone to the younger man's voice and he stood straight, the final dawning realisation in his eyes was a signal for Father to speak again.

"The Clerics and Sweepers shall be the rod and sword of our society, those who fail to conform will be prosecuted, and burned alive in the City furnaces. We do not have room for pity, we do not have room for mercy and most of all, and we do not have room for them." He almost hissed as he rose from his chair again, placing both hands on the tabletop.

"I understand." That was all Vincent could say, beads of sweat gathered on his forehead.

"Yes, and those things...those items and possessions that are non-conformist shall be rated, and destroyed also. EC-10 will become the new saviour of morality, a hope that shines like a beacon in the night. Any who hoard these things, shall be declared an enemy of our society and there will be no reprieve for them."

Vincent nodded again, meekly now, Father's demeanour had changed, and this put a great deal of worry into his friend's heart. But he held his composure, he must see it through, the other was too horrible to contemplate.

"You will report your findings upon a successful test of the Prozium, take your candidate off the street and administer the drug, monitor and keep me posted." The order was given and Father waved his hand, a dismissal of sorts. Vincent was only too glad to leave, letting the cavernous darkness beyond swallow him, only the buzz of the bright white lights offered any kind of reference.

He passed down corridor after corridor, deeper into the lion's den, that den which also served as his home. Walking quietly to the labs of the Tetragrammaton and moreover to the first phial of street ready Prozium. He picked it up, it gleamed a sickly orange in the sterile light.

Libria, city of a new hope, the cornerstone and foundation of Father's new order, a thronging place of hustle and bustle. People were watched closely by the Sweepers, the foot soldiers of Father's regime, they watched for one foot to step out of place, and swooped like black leather clad birds of prey to drag the offender off into the shadows of the city. To face the new justice of Libria's fair and just Council.

But it was not yet /the/ Libria, that would take a little longer to perfect and it all hinged on Father's superficial cure for the killer, a drug that was designed to inhibit the highs and lows of emotion, to render us into no more than addicted cattle. His plan had not yet come to fruition, they lacked one vital piece of analytical data - they needed a borderline psychopath who could be pushed just far enough - so they had an excuse to drag him in.

They had planned to use a particular man for this, the only snag was that the Sweepers had executed him about sixty seconds ago, just as Vincent arrived on the scene. He was furious inside but kept his emotions in check, just as he was trained to do.

"This is a particular mistake, Captain Dannow." He addressed the leader of the black clad, cycle-helmed Sweepers with a disdain plain in his voice. "That will not sit well, with...Father."

"He was resisting arrest." The man hid behind the false power of his position.

"He was perfect and now, we need another candidate for the street program."

"If Father finds out, it will be all of our heads. He was chosen especially for his violent tendencies and his addiction to illegal amphetamines." The young Council member closed his eyes and rubbed his chin, rounding on one of the Sweepers randomly.

"You, name?"

"Sweeper Hunt, Councilmember." The man replied, flicking up his visor and managing to look Vincent in the eyes.

"You'll do." He commanded. "Now take off your helmet and tilt your head."

The Sweeper obediently did as he was told, Vincent stepped forwards and before he could be stopped there was a hiss as the drug's injector snapped the Prozium into the man's system, he felt a slick sting at the side of his neck and that was all.

"I want him monitored and sent into the most dangerous situations, and I will deal with the rest of the paperwork. Captain, you will make sure this is done, or you will burn in the City Furnace...do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, Councilmember." Came the automatic response and the Captain looked to Hunt, no pity in his eyes, just an amused curiosity that prompted the question. "Are there any side-effects, I should know about?"

"If he rips your head off and defecates down your neck, you can consider that as a harmful side-effect." Vincent snapped and walked away, back to the safety of the car that waited to bear him away from the scene, when he was away from the public eye, he collapsed in the backseat for a moment. "Drive." He hissed, and his chauffer did as he was told, without question.

"I'll be watching you, Hunt." Dannow narrowed his eyes and turned to the rest of his men. "Ok, party's over ladies, better get back on patrol. And you, Hunt, you heard the man. You get to go to the Nethers for as long as it takes, don't envy you one bit. Must be real bad to be chosen as the Council's test puppy."

"What ever you say, Captain, Sir." He put his helmet back on and turned to leave, right then, the light became too bright even through the visor and his world turned to a spiral of colours that he couldn't ever imagine. He dropped like a rock.

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